Southlanders try to defeat the heat
BY STEVE METSCH Sun-Times Media July 17, 2013 8:50PM
Lockport Township Park District day campers Sean Winters (from left), Jake Regan and Ranik Jelinek drink lots of water to keep their cool while playing outside at Dellwood Park on Wednesday. | Susan DeMar Lafferty~Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 19, 2013 3:53PM
Plenty of water and shade were the orders of the day for anyone outside Wednesday as the temperatures continued to rise.
Laura and Joe Buhay, of Plainfield, brought their own shade to their son’s high school summer baseball tournament game in Lockport — in the form of a giant umbrella, complete with window flaps that open to let the air flow and close for rain.
“We tried sitting under the press box. Everyone is under there trying to keep cool, but there’s no breeze,” Laura said as they waited for the game to begin between Joliet Catholic Academy and Lincoln-Way North on the Lockport Township High School field.
“You just cook in the bleachers,” she said, pointing out that none of those seats was in the shade. “If the heat index reaches 100, the kids don’t play, and we’re just shy of that.”
The players kept rags soaked in ice water to keep their cool, she said.
Meanwhile, no matter what the temperature, letter carrier Michael Hohe will be out delivering mail. He keeps his head and neck covered with a hat and downs lots of water.
“If the customers see you dying, they might offer you some water. It’s not possible to beat the heat,” he said.
Water, water and more water was on tap for the day campers at Dellwood Park in Lockport.
“We try to keep them in the shade and I make sure they drink plenty of water,” camp coordinator Sarah Aspel said. But the day also included water balloons, sprinklers and a walk to the pool.
“We’re always on the lookout for signs of heat problems,” she said.
Day camper Jake Regan, 8, of Homer Glen, said his favorite activity was squatting on water balloons.
For fellow camper Ranik Jelinek, 10, of Lockport, it was playing a different version of Duck, Duck, Goose. Those who were “goosed” got doused with water, he said.
Still, that was not enough for Cody Rush, 8, who stopped on his way to the pool to stick his head in the water fountain.
“My head needs a drink,” he said.
Lisa O’Brien, of Evergreen Park, said she was “coping” with the heat wave. She wore a bright white shirt Wednesday, required for her job but also good for reflecting the sun’s rays.
“I’m just trying to stay hydrated. Water. Powerade,” she said as she walked from her parked car to get lunch for her and her daughter at Burger King, 4545 W. 95th St., Oak Lawn.
“I wish this heat would go away. I like the cooler, what we had last week. It was less humid. I could tolerate that. This? No,” O’Brien said.
A few blocks to the east of Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Matt Kenah was found outside his home, shirtless and wearing a pair of shorts and not liking the heat wave.
“We’re supposed to be going downtown tonight to Navy Pier for my daughter’s ‘Sweet Sixteen’ birthday party and I don’t want to. By the lake it will be breezy, but it’s too hot. I just talked to a business party in Miami. It’s humid (there) but it’s 80 (degrees),” Kenah said.
“It was 101 when we got into the car yesterday around 6. But this is miserable. It’s awful,” he said.
Kenah, 45, was shirtless because he had just made a few deliveries for his father’s landscaping business in a dark green 1956 Chevy truck that does not have air conditioning.
“I had to lose 5 to 10 pounds in water weight just driving around in that truck. It had to be 200 degrees in there. The heat from the engine goes right into there,” he said, pointing inside the cab.
Walking slowly to his truck after working for Power Construction at a job site on the Christ Medical Center campus, Sean McMahon said the company is attentive when things heat up.
“Power is real good about having icy water and they do a real good job making sure you’re OK. They ask us repeatedly,” said McMahon, a construction worker more than 30 years.
For those who have to work outside all day like he does, it’s best to use a cooler to store your lunch, use ice packs to keep the food fresh, and freeze a container of water overnight so you’ll have cool water to
drink, he said.
The heat may have contributed to electrical transformer problems in Homewood and Flossmoor on Tuesday night, a fire official said.
Homewood Deputy Fire Chief Clint Johnson said his department responded to a transformer fire at 7 p.m. at Dixie Highway and Vardon Lane in Flossmoor. He also said a transformer failed and an electric cable came loose at 191st Street and Riegel Road in Homewood. No one was injured in either incident.
“People are looking for air conditioning, so there is more demand and things will fail this time of year,” Johnson said.
Contributing: Casey Toner